Saint Benildus Romancon

 Saint Benildus Romançon

Born: 14th June 1805 in Thuret, France

Died: 13th August 1862, Saugues, France

Feast Day: 13th August

Also Known As: Benilde, Peter Romancon, Pierre Romancon

Patron Saint: Accordionists

Beatified: April 4, 1948 by Pope Pius XII
Canonized: October 29, 1967 by Pope Paul VI


Pierre Romancon was born in a village in Central France called Thuret on 14th June 1885 to a farming family.  He went to school at a De La Salle’s Brothers establishment and was very bright and so far ahead of his classmates, that he was used as a teacher at the age of 14.  His aim was to join the Brothers despite his parents’ wishes – and his Superiors who thought him too ‘short’.  He was finally admitted to the novitiate in 1820 and taught in the various elementary schools from 1821 to 1841 when he was appointed Director of a school that was opening in Saugues, an isolated village in Southern France.


He continued to work for the next 20 years teaching in the village and the neighbouring farms, all boys, some in their teens, who had never been to school before.  He became known as strict but fair and the school become the hub of the social and educational life of the village, including evening classes for adults.  Benilde’s religious reputation-built momentum. He looked after his students by preparing meals in the Brothers’ kitchen for hungry students, converting old Brothers’ robes into coats or pants for them, and spending hours tutoring students who learned more slowly than others. He referred to all students, regardless of age or background, as “Monsieur.” He affected everyone at mass, during catechism training, praying with sick and rumours of near-miraculous cures.  He was especially blessed with attracting religious vocations.  At his death more than 200 Brothers and many Priests had been his students at Saugues. 


When St. Benilde died at age 57, former students vied to carry his casket to the cemetery, mourners spilled into the public square from the crowded church, and people plucked blades of grass from nearby his tomb as “relics.” At his beatification, Pope Pius XII stressed that his sanctification was attained by enduring “the terrible daily grind” and by “doing common things in an uncommon way.”